How many spots are there?
For the enjoyment of the group and our own sanity we limit the number of motorcycles to 10 plus guides. Pillions are always welcome. We have room for 2 non-riding passengers to accompany us in the support vehicle. If the entire tour is being taken by a special group, we can take as many as 14 bikes.
I'm from America (or Lichenstein, or Mongolia....). Can I join the tour or is it only for Canadians?
If don't mind risking catching our funny ways of saying things, then come along! Since the tour starts in Africa, you can sort out your flying arrangements from where ever you are. Tour prices are payable in Canadian dollars, either by wire transfer or money order.
How much will it really cost?
All the pricing on this site - unless otherwise stated - is in Canadian dollars. The pricing is also laid out so that there are no surprises along the way. If you are happy with renting the G650GS and sharing a room, your price is $6450 (Spectacular South West Africa) or $6850 (Waterfalls and Wildlife). You are responsible for your return flight to and from Africa. Return flights from Canada to Cape Town can range anywhere from $1200 - $2500+ depending on gateway, dates and luck. Fuel for the motorcycle will come to about $150. You will need travellers insurance for the duration of your trip, and if it is not included in your policy, an emergency evacuation policy like that from Medjet Assist which is about $150. The motorcycle comes with third party insurance, but there is a deposit for the deductible of approximately $3000 to cover any damages. This deposit is taken as a credit card approval when we pick up the bikes. The entire amount is removed from the credit card with the return of the undamaged motorcycle. Alcohol and items of a personal nature are also not included in the tour price. There is a more complete list here.
I am a light sleeper, can I choose my roommate? How about a single room?
The pricing on the trips is based on double occupancy, and the 'double' rooms in most lodges consist of two single beds. The best way to ensure a compatible roommate is to come on the trip with a friend. Some of our favorite lodges are small and popular, taking bookings two years in advance. There are no guarantees that single rooms will be available on short notice. The single room supplement price is basically 50% of the rooming fees for the trip. A riders who signs up for a trip as a solo rider and for whom we cannot find a roommate has the option of paying the single room supplement or accepting a full refund of monies paid. If, while on the trip, your snoring roommate is driving you crazy, we can try to change roommates to get a closer match of sleeping patterns. If that does not work, you can request a single room and pay the supplement, but keep in mind that you must convice your roommate to also pay the supplement as we will now be billed for a single room for them. If your roommate is unwilling to pay the supplement, it will also be yours to pay. Bring earplugs, or better yet bring a friend.
What aremy options for lower bikes?
We only use BMW bikes on our tours. We do have factory-lowered G650's available for those that need a lower bike. The regular G650 with a regular seat has a seat height of 32.3". The regular G650 with a low seat has a seat height of 31.3". The factory lowered G650 with the low seat has a seat height of 30.1".
We do have lolw seats can also be used on the F800. The 1200's have a dual position seat that is easy to switch around.
What if I want to stay later, or come earlier?
We would recommend it! Our 14 day itinerary takes into account the most common vacation timelines available to North Americans. If you want to stay for longer, we can help with planning pre- or post- trip schedules. Keep in mind that the flight from North America to South Africa will typically take two calendar days to arrive so flights and vacation time must be scheduled accordingly.
Are riders of all abilities welcome? What are the roads like?
To rent the motorcycle you must be over 25 years of age with a valid motorcycle licence. You must also confirm that you have at least two years experience riding a motorcycle as big (or bigger) than the one you want to rent. If you are not comfortable riding on your own or at highway speeds, it is best to continue developing your riding skills at home so when you do get to Africa you can enjoy the scenary around you without stress.
The Specactular South West Africa trip is run on tarmac roads and gravel roads. These roads are secondary highways and are in good shape for gravel roads, but there are sections of sand and loose road surfaces. Experience on gravel roads is critical for group travel and for your own trip enjoyment. Riders should be relaxed and comfortable doing 80 kph on wide, well groomed gravel roads, and an off road skills course for riders new to gravel is encouraged. Africa is not the place to experiment with whether you like sand or not.
The Waterfalls and Wildlife tour is only run on tarmac roads. The speed limits on national, tarmac highways in South Africa, Nambia, and Botswana hover in the 120 kph range. To keep to our itinerary, we need to travel 100 - 120 kph on these roads.
The Garden route has a few sections of excellent gravel, but is mostly tarred roads.
How is the food?
We have yet to have anybody lose weight by the end of the trip. Meat figures prominently in African diets, and these trips will introduce you to wild game such as ostrich, kudu, springbok, oryx, even crocodile. Breakfasts and dinners in the lodges are often buffet style. Meals taken in restaurants are ordered from the menu. It is not impossible to be a vegetarian in Africa, but it does take planning when we are away from the larger towns.
Are there any medical shots I need to go to Africa?
Both the 'Spectacular South West Africa' and 'The Garden Route' tours do not enter malarial areas. 'Waterfalls and Wildlife' and 'Victoria Falls to Cape Town' do enter malarial areas. All travelers should visit either their personal physician or a travel health clinic 4-8 weeks before departure. Bring a copy of the route from the website to show exactly where you are travelling. Ask your doctor whether you should renew your vaccinations against polio, tetanus-diphtheria and MMR. S/he might also advise to take precautions against Hepatitis A and B, and/or Typhoid. In the unlikely event that you are arriving from a country where Yellow Fever vaccinations are mandatory, you need to produce proof that you have been vaccinated. Your travel clinic or medical services provider will have the lastest advice on immunizations needed for travelling in both areas.
How about safety?
A safe trip is a successful trip and we take your safety extremely seriously. Road selection, adherence to the speed limits, and well maintained motorcycles help to avoid problems. Our guides are cell phone and satellite phone equipped, and the guides are trained in first aid.
Can I bring my cell phone?
Your phone needs to be an unlocked dual-band, tri-band or quad-band GSM phone capable of functioning on the 900/1800 MHz GSM band in order to accept the SIM card. We will loan you a SIM card for both South Africa and Namibia, which will allow you to receive calls (free), send calls (expensive to overseas), and send and receive SMS texts (cheap). You can buy prepaid minutes almost anywhere, but remember that cellular coverage is not available everywhere.
What do you recommend for accessing money?
Cash is king. The easiest way to pay for daily items is with the Rand, the currency of South Africa. The banking systems in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana use popular ATM systems like Interact and Cirrus, and your card should work in the machines. It is an odd fact that fuel cannot often be bought with a credit card, only cash. You are responsible for fueling costs of the bike, so keep this in mind. The South African Rand can be used at par in Namibia. Botswana money can be exchagned at the border crossing and money from South Africa, Namibia or the US is most easily traded. The Mastercard System of accessing money is not widely found in Botswana, bring a Visa based card. Zimbabawe runs on USD.
What clothes to I bring?
For riding gear, bring gear that you would wear in summer in Canada. Helmet, jacket, pants, boots, gloves are the minimum. When you are off the bike, casual attire is most appropriate, and not too much of it! Don’t forget your swimwear, as most of the lodges have pools. Being the desert, it cools off at night, and a fleece and a few warm pieces will keep you content out at the fire. In October, Cape Town has an average high of 21C, and a low of 11C. Afternoon humidity is around 56%. Windhoek has an average October high of 29C and low of 15C, and an afternoon humidity of 13%. The sun will be coming up around 6am, and settling after 7pm. There is always a chance of rain on the South Africa coast, so bring rain gear.
The "Waterfalls and Wildlife" tours takes place during Africa's winter. Nighttime lows can be as low as 2 or 3C, and daytime high in low 20'sC. Perfect riding weather, but bring clothes for chilly nights.
What is my motorcycle breaks down?
We carry spare tubes and tools in the truck. We also bring a spare motorcycle on the trailer in case of emergencies. We are under no obligation to replace a motorcycle damaged through dropping, crashing, or neglect.
We have a dozen different vehicles for us to choose from when supporting our trip depending on the number of guests and the routing of the trip. When the trailer is attached it provides us with a way to transport your luggage from hotel to hotel, and a way to deal with any motorcycle mechanical issues.